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  1. The war on smuggling : economic life and the making of the modern Chinese state

    Thai, Philip
    New York : Columbia University Press, [2018]

  2. Smuggling, state-building, and political economy in coastal China, 1927-1949 [electronic resource]

    Thai, Philip
    2013.

    This study looks at Nationalist China's war on smuggling from 1927 to 1949 to explore the transformation of state authority and the larger socioeconomic impact of state-building. The recovery of tariff autonomy in the late 1920s empowered the Nationalist government to raise duties on foreign goods for the first time in nine decades. Higher tariffs and stricter controls on trade provided the new state critical revenues to meet an array of urgent domestic needs and foreign threats, but they also created a full-blown smuggling epidemic by making smuggling a very profitable enterprise. To meet this challenge to its authority, the state fought back with an extensive campaign to stamp out smuggling, created new definitions of legal trade, and asserted its prerogative to police borders. This study argues that the suppression of smuggling was more than a law enforcement issue: it was integral to broader state efforts to extract fiscal resources, broadcast central authority, and delineate new boundaries of legality. Merchants and other smugglers, meanwhile, did not passively accept growing state strictures but adopted a range of responses, from compliance to evasion, that helped shape the contours of an emerging legal regime. How the state asserted its prerogative to tax, regulate, and police trade--and how mercantile circles responded to this expansion of state power--are questions at the core this study. Using diverse sources such as customs records, legal cases, government correspondences, and popular press reports from ports along coastal China, this study chronicles both the campaign to fight smuggling from the top, as well as the range of reactions to official efforts from the bottom. In addition to issues in Chinese studies, I also engage with wider research in legal and economic history in examining the creation and enforcement of new legal categories as well as strategies merchants employed in response to changing business environments.

  3. China's war on smuggling : law, economic life, and the making of the modern state, 1842-1965

    Thai, Philip
    New York : Columbia University Press, [2018]

    Smuggling along the Chinese coast has been a thorn in the side of many regimes. From opium concealed aboard foreign steamships in the Qing dynasty to consumer commodities like nylon stockings and wristwatches trafficked in the People's Republic, contests between state and smuggler have exerted a surprising but crucial influence on the political economy of modern China. Seeking to consolidate domestic authority and confront foreign challenges, the state introduced tighter regulations, higher taxes, and harsher enforcement. These interventions sparked widespread defiance, triggering further coercive measures: smuggling simultaneously threatened the state's power while inviting repression that strengthened its authority. Philip Thai chronicles the vicissitudes of smuggling in modern China-its practice, suppression, and significance-to demonstrate the intimate link between coastal smuggling and the amplification of state power. China's War on Smuggling shows that the fight against smuggling was not a simple law enforcement problem but rather an impetus to centralize and expand regime control. The smuggling epidemic gave Chinese states pretext to define legal and illegal behavior, and the resulting constraints on consumption and movement remade everyday life for individuals, merchants, and communities.Smuggling along the Chinese coast has been a thorn in the side of many regimes. From opium and weapons concealed aboard foreign steamships in the Qing dynasty to nylon stockings and wristwatches trafficked in the People's Republic, contests between state and smuggler have exerted a surprising but crucial influence on the political economy of modern China. Seeking to consolidate domestic authority and confront foreign challenges, states introduced tighter regulations, higher taxes, and harsher enforcement. These interventions sparked widespread defiance, triggering further coercive measures. Smuggling simultaneously threatened the state's power while inviting repression that strengthened its authority. Philip Thai chronicles the vicissitudes of smuggling in modern China-its practice, suppression, and significance-to demonstrate the intimate link between illicit coastal trade and the amplification of state power. China's War on Smuggling shows that the fight against smuggling was not a simple law enforcement problem but rather an impetus to centralize authority and expand economic controls. The smuggling epidemic gave Chinese states pretext to define legal and illegal behavior, and the resulting constraints on consumption and movement remade everyday life for individuals, merchants, and communities. Drawing from varied sources such as legal cases, customs records, and popular press reports and including diverse perspectives from political leaders, frontline enforcers, organized traffickers, and petty runners, Thai uncovers how different regimes policed maritime trade and the unintended consequences their campaigns unleashed. China's War on Smuggling traces how defiance and repression redefined state power, offering new insights into modern Chinese social, legal, and economic history.

    Online EBSCO Academic Comprehensive Collection

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